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and before i let you go, "time" magazine revealed its person of the year. it is barack obama for a second time here. the magazine calls him both the symbol and architect of this new america. that was a quote. also on the list was mala malala yousufzal, the teenager, the pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the taliban. number three, the successor to apple's steve jobs, tim cook. i'm brooke baldwin in the cnn headquarters in atlanta. in the meantime, we go to wolf blitzer. >>. hey, wolf. >> brooke, thank you very much. president obama challenging washington to do something about gun control. >> summon even one tiny iota of
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the courage that the teachers, the principal in newtown showed on friday. finally, some real answers about the benghazi attack that killed four americans. we now know more than reason for the grossly inadequate security. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we begin with president obama's call to action against what he calls the national epidemic of gun violence amid the trauma over the newtown school
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massacre, he has put vice president biden in charge of the agenda that could be submitted to congress next month. and a growing number of americans want action from the government. a brand new poll shows that 52% of u.s. adult dults favor major restrictions on guns, making all guns illegal versus 47% last august. let's turn to our white house correspondent brianna keilar. she's joining us. the president came out and didn't mince very words. >> reporter: no, wolf. this is the first time that president obama has laid out a time line. he appointed vice president biden to lead this group of cabinet lawmakers to come out with some solutions and he wants those recommends from him no later than january. the president said this time washington won't just talk about
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tackling gun violence. >> this is not some washington commission. this is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. this is a team that has a very specific task to pull together real reforms right now. >> reporter: he urged congress to vote early next year on an assault weapons ban and high ammunition clips and close the loopholes so all gun buyers are subject to background checks. >> we're going to need to work on making access to mental health cares at least as easy to access to a gun. we're going to need to look at a culture that all too often glorifies gunses and violence. and any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts. >> the president is hoping to
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seize this moment of heightened public awareness to push washington to change. >> but goodness, if this past week has done anything, it should just give us some perspective. i mean, if there's one thing we should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what's important. >> reporter: the announcement is quieting criticism from within the president's own ranks. carolyn mccarthy who lost her husband in a mass shooting now shows the president is showing leadership. >> we will follow the president's commission on education, mental health, and all of the other things that need to be done to keep us safe. >> reporter: but far-reaching gun regulations will no doubt be met with resistance from the national rifle association which has yet to weigh in on the debate but will hold a press conference on friday. senior administration officials
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say they are ready. >> the nra is an organization that has members who are mothers and fathers. and i would expect that they have been impacted by this as well. and hopefully they will do some self-reflection. >> reporter: president obama made it clear today that he intends to use the bully pulpit to appeal to gun owners on this issue. wolf, it's still to be determined how much of a clash there could be with the nra over this. there is obviously some concern, though, and i think you can see that in just some of the lawmakers, the gun rights lawmakers who are coming out and sort of changing their tune on this issue. many of them, for instance, west virginia senator joe manchin doesn't have to worry about re-election until 2018. we've also heard from steve loutorette. he is retiring. maybe they are not the vulnerable ones and we haven't heard a lot from those who are. >> it was clear to me, brianna, and maybe you as well, the president really has been moved by what happened last friday
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morning in newtown, connecticut. and he wants to take action now because as one of the reporters at that briefing where you attended basically said to the president, where have you been for the last four years in what has taken so long? i thought he had a pretty good answer but he's motivated to try to do something about gun violence in the country now. >> reporter: yeah. he said in response to that that he hasn't been on vacation, he's been dealing with a lot of other things that affect children, health care, jobs for their parent. even though he didn't come out and say that he feels as if he's been absent on some sort of legislation, some sort of push to tack can kell gun violence, that there certainly seems to be a time for self-reflection, it's something that he's been thinking about, what more he could have done and obviously what more he needs to do now. >> brianna, thank you. during his remarks the president said, and i'm quoting him now, we may never know all of the reasons for the school shootings. but in newtown today,
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investigators started a fresh sweep of the house adam lanza shared with his mother. deborah feyerick is there. deb, there seems to be increasing police activity at the house. what's going on? >> reporter: yeah, there is. as a matter of fact, the major crime squad was here all day and they brought back their mobile lab. you can see it's just to the left of the house. they brought that back. that wasn't here the last couple of days. there have been about eight investigators on scene throughout the course of the day. earlier this afternoon they carried out a large book. what they are doing is processing a lot of things inside the house. they've got to go through all of the documents, photos, records, anything that might give them some indication as to why what was going on in that house and why adam lanza then killed his mother, hshooting her four time in the head. they process what information they can on the scene, things like, for instance, different sort of compounds, fingerprints,
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things that they won't be able to remove. then it will go to the major lab so they can analyze it even further. one thing we know is is investigators have tried to put together where nancy lanza and her son were in the days leading up to this tragedy. no one has yet claimed the body of nancy lanza. that has yet to be done. it's not clear who will take her. she's from new hampshire. there's suggestion that her brother may come to claim the body. she's divorced from her husband. that happened at 2009, about the same time that he cut off communications with his dad. right now, as far as this home goes, there is a plan to board up all of the windows and just sort of secure the home. right now it's an active crime scene. the major crime squad has been here all day and they are going to continue working on this house until they have ever piece of information. the computer still -- that is still damaged, there is hope that they will be able to get
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some information but right now they are having difficulty retrieving anything from that computer. that's another angle from all of this. the investigation is still very active and still continuing as they try to figure out what was happening with adam lanza. wolf? >> deborah, thank you. the "hartford courant" has asked the genetisist to join in. what clues, if any, can a postmortem genetic test provide investigators? >> i think very few clues, wolf. certainly this idea of finding some genetic clue as to what motivated all of this is very unlikely. a couple reasons why, wolf. first of all, there's not clear-cut genes identified with the types of illnesses, mental illnesses that may cause this sort of behavior. simply, we found a gene. therefore, it explains this, is
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very unlikely. i think it's very hard to put those two things together. genetic analysis can be useful sometimes if there's unanswered questions still about where somebody was or what exactly happened or if there's a sudden unusual death, like somebody just drops dead suddenly and there's no explanation. it can be helpful in those situations. but my guess is, wolf, this is not going to provide much in the way of any answers. >> i suspect you're right, too, based on what i'm hearing from others. a murder suicide, you've done some research into this. what can we learn? here he goes and does a mass murder and kills himself. what does that say? >> there's no hard and fast rules here. but if you start with this idea, did the person really know right from wrong? and we talked about this whole how in touch with reality the person may have been. you know, for example, the arizona shooter, the aurora shooter, they did not kill themselves at the end of this
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and if you sort of dig in and look at the follow-up medical part of their investigation, you find out if they were delusional, psychotic to the point where they really did not seem to know right from wrong, they didn't seem to know that they had done anything that warranted being arrested or anything. here he obviously did. there's no hard and fast rules here but this makes it less likely to be a delusional psychosis type of thing and maybe more depression, bipolar, that type of thing, or those underlying things that became suddenly worse because of a recent traumatic experience. again, this is how the medical investigators are going to be thinking about things, at least starting to narrow in. >> i guess the bottom line question, sanjay, how do you piece together his mind set now that he's dead? how do you go back and try to figure out what was going through that mind? >> it's hard. you talk to a lot of people certainly that knew him, try and figure out what some of his
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activities were over time, and there's something to be learned, to some extent, wolf, from previous tragedies like this. if you talk to people who study these sorts of things and who the fbi even relies on for their investigation, they typically break these categories down into either a person who had psychosis, psychopathic, or someone who was traumatized. not everyone is going to fit neatly into those categories, but once you get an idea of patterns of behavior, you look to see whether certain patterns were met here as well. it's not as easy or clean cut as that but that's a little insight in how medical investigators will approach this. >> sanjay, thanks very much. always good to get your perspective on these issues. even as the police investigation continues, so does the heartbreaking task of burying those that are gone.
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and even as that is happening, gun shops are being flooded with new buyers. >> i was looking for a gun that i had wanted for a long time and just wanted to get it before possible changes. i always wait until the last minute. can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh... whew. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. ship fedex express by december 22nd for christmas delivery. by december 22nd oh,this is jucier than i thought. we actully keep track of how many times this kid picked his nose? tongue's out, hair pulls, stink eyes, man we see eveything. oh, it's the old man. hold on, i gotta send something out. you can have two apps open at the same time? how'd you do that? it's the galaxy note 10.1 man, it just does it.
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for 12 months today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? most of the funeral services in connect cult have been private but one service today not only was opened to the public, the whole town shared in the grieve. sandra endo is in newtown for us. what happened, sandy? >> reporter: wolf, saying good-bye to loved ones is becoming a daily routine here in newtown. today, 27-year-old hero teacher victoria soto, carolyn previdi, cheryl lot bacon, daniel barden all were buried today. 26 angels on the hillside,
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watching a somber journey to a final resting place. ♪ the private pain of saying good-bye. shared by this small new england town. grief knowing no boundaries. 7-year-old daniel barden dreamed of being a firefighter. in ceremonial dress from new
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york to massachusetts, hundreds of them gave daniel a hero's sendoff. the slow flashing lights come through town too often, leaving heartbroken residents with questions no one can answer. later tonight, a bigger tribute at a neighboring town where residents there and elected officials are hoping to present to newtown an uplifting memorial to remember the lives lost. wolf? >> sandra endo, thanks very much. with the renewed discussion of gun control in the aftermath of the shootings, there's another push among gun owners. cnn's steven mattingly reports on the surge of firearm sales. >> reporter: almost a thousand miles away from newtown, connecticut, gun owners rush to buy more guns.
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why are you in here today? >> i was looking for a gun that i had wanted for a long time and just wanted to get it before possible changes. >> reporter: at this gun shop and firing range north of atlanta, already brisk holiday sales have suddenly bumped up even more. customers fearing gun restrictions from congress are looking to buy now. >> me and my brother collect weapons and we have plenty of handguns and shotguns and only one assault rifle. with all of the new -- talk of new legislation going on to assault rifles, i really -- i definitely want to get a few more, you know, before something may happen. what's the largest clip that you can put in there? >> reporter: gun collector rudy orlando is looking to buy an ar-15, a semiautomatic rifle similar to the one used in connecticut. and he's not alone. demand for the weapon here is driving a $1,000 price tag. >> all the prices are really high. i mean, they are really high on
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those guns right now. and they are not going to budge on the prices because they are going to be sold. >> are you going to buy any more? >> reporter: it's already a records sales year last year in the u.s. and a 16,000465,951 background checks and so far this year it's 16,808,500 so far. the magazines that hold large number of rounds. without specifics, store owner tom deets says any gun owner could feel. >> will they go across the board
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to make anything that anybody has purchased illegal. >> reporter: the uncertainty bothers g bothers nongun owners as well. >> why now, why today so soon after the shootings? >> i'm worried that the government is going to put so much regulations on being able to do this that it's not going to be an option for them. >> reporter: industry analysts say this as a possible peak to the sales growth that began with the election of president obama four years ago. u.s. gun sales totalled $2.5 billion in 2008. this year, that figure could top 3.5 billion. david mattingly, cnn, rosswell, georgia. >> how high are the hopes for real change in the coming weeks? new polling data provides a clue. we'll talk about that and more
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with dr. drew pinsky. also, a train is rammed off the tracks. we'll show you the amazing video of what caused it. ♪ the lexus december to remember sales event is on. this is the pursuit of perfection. [ tylenol bottle ] me too! and nasal co [ tissue box ] he said nasal congestion. yeah...i heard him. [ female announcer ] tylenol® cold multi-symptom nighttime relieves nasal congestion. nyquil® cold and flu doesn't.
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a massive dock washes up on shore. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and other stories. what happened? >> the dock may be from last year's tsunami in japan. a coast guard spotted it in olympic national park in washington. they are trying to reach it to find out if it's harboring the area. gm will buy back 200 million
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shares and another 300 million will be sold through various means or so. that will end the $51 billion bailout of the automaker. taxpayers are expected to lose money on this deal. the stock hasn't done as well as hoped. south korea has elected its first female president. park promises to salvage the economy and other issues are income inequality. park is the daughter of the country's former military dictator. and take a look at these dramatic i am manuals of a mudslide in motion. our affiliate, komo in everett washington captured the video as the slide slammed into a moving freight train. cars crumbled and derailed, as you can see there. the freight trains were back on the tracks yesterday but amtrack
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is waiting 48 hours to make sure that this scene is safe. unbelievable when you see that mudslide. >> do we know if anybody was hurt? >> i don't think anyone was hurt. it was a freight train. they want to make sure that everything is safe. take a look at those oh pictures. there it goes. >> lisa, thank you. it's a debate politicians have resisted in recent years but new poll results show a shift in how americans feel about preventing gun violence and how that could affect gun law reforms. er ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all? it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ trees will talk to networks will talk to scientists about climate change. cars will talk to road sensors
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with the families in newtown, connecticut, burying their loved ones, president obama calls for an interagency group and he emphasized he can't do it alone. >> each one of these americans
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was a victim of every day gun violence that takes the lives of more than 10,000 every year. violence that we cannot accept as routine. so i will use all of the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. and i'm not going to be able to do it by myself. ultimately, if this effort is to succeed, it's going to require the help of the american people. >> let's bring in dr. drew pinsky from our sister network hln. dr. drew, if the president were to ask you to join joe biden on this committee and come up within a month of specific recommendations, what would you tell them? >> well, i would tell him, first of all, it's not just about the guns. it's about our crisis in mental health. let me just sort of step back for a minute, wolf, and tell you that i've generally been kind of unhappy with our leaders in terms of how emotional they have been. we've been wounded.
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we took a body shop. we needed our leaders to get in there and get their hands dirty and express themselves. as you remember, as rudy giuliani let u.s. out of 9/11, that is the kind of leadership we needed and i was kind of disappointed until today. today afeel like we have our leaders letting us know that we need to gather as country and take action and all they are asking for is rationality. how many can say it's okay to have 100 ammunitions and a banana clip. nobody is talking about guns away. they are talking about taking away the opportunity for people to have massive, massive loss of life and i think any reasonable person is going to say that is something we could all get easily behind. and thank you president obama for being clear that you're going to take action and you need our help. but it is not just about the guns. i tell you, on my program we are getting in deep with what to do with people and parents and family members with people with
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mental illness that are out of control. there's resources in our country. people cannot get conservatorship. there's no state hospital. there's no strouk tur. and i would say, president obama, please, please, there's so much more to be done here than just guns and this is our opportunity and connecticut is just a symptom. >> the president made it clear that he agrees with you. it's not just guns that are at issue, even though he did say you have to deal with military assault -- military-type assault weapons, background checks for gun purchasers. so those are important but he also did call to deal with this committee, this biden committee should look at the mental health care that we have in this country, how that could contribute to that kind of gun violence. >> he lost on it. he did. >> and that seems to glorify his words, guns. those are issues that he wants to raises well. >> i hope -- i'm sorry, but i hope they don't spend too much
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time on that because i don't believe that's something that policy is going to determine. i do believe those of us in the media can take a good, hard look at that and should be more responsible with it and should be educating people about that. but i'm not sure that's a policy issue. that's a cultural issue and media is a big part of culture. he did gloss the mental health issues. i was, again, not overwhelmingly excited with the gentle gloss he put on that rather than, we're going to focus on that. by the way, he glossed a little bit at the privacy issue and background checks insofar as checking for there having been legal problems. but i say he's got to go further and we have to have rational -- we've got to be rational about our privacy. if somebody has a history of mental illness that has any probability of making them predisposed to acting out, and that's a big, broad statement i'm making, the safety of the community should take precedence
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of the privacy right of the individual and that's going to take some can change in our legal system. >> in our new poll we said, can government and society take actions to prevent another shooting. back in january 2011, 33% said yes. that's now up to 46%. so there is clearly a desire, maybe in the aftermath of what we just saw a few days, a desire for the government to really step up. >> yep, wolf. i think absolutely. this is the time. i saw a commentary -- i think michael moore put out -- which was saying, please, let's back off and let these families mourn. no, that's wrong. the families need us to take action so their loved ones should not have died in vain. the se we all are hurt. i'm deeply wrund wounded by this. i'm beside myself. as i keep telling people, making
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service, faith, connection with people, that's going to get us through. and here now is an opportunity for all of us to gather as a community and make a difference. >> dr. drew, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. >> and please be sure to watch dr. drew "on call" on our sister network, hln. when it comes to the fiscal cliff, president obama said should -- and i'm quoting him now, just take the deal. up next, we'll take a closer look at why the president and house speaker john boehner seem to be talking past one another. and this is not a situation that i'm unwilling to compromise. this is not a situation where i'm trying to rub their face in anything. >> the president will have a decision to make. he can call on senate democrats to pass that bill or he can be
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let's get to our strategy session right now. joining us, two cnn contributors, paul begala and former white house speechwriter, david frum. he's author of the bestselling e book "why romney lost." he's trying to put what is going on right now in the fiscal cliff negotiations into some sort of perspective. >> if this past week has done anything, it should just give us some perspective. i mean, if there's one thing we
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should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what's important. >> so stop arguing so much about a billion here or a billion there, just do it. don't go over the fiscal cliff. that's the bottom line. that's what he's saying. look at the tragedy that we all saw. >> i'm sure the president means well but that's really guilting people in a way that is not an appropriate way to conduct an investigation. there's a jewish mother quality of that. >> you speak of someone who is jewish. >> speaking of someone who is jewish. >> exactly. >> never accused of being. >> you don't talk like that. but this gets to kind of the weirdness of this whole fiscal cliff discussion. we are about to make choices that are going to affect the next generation and we are making them before we really
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know with the most significant new program of the past 30 years, the president's health care initiative is really going to cost. it would be so much more sensible for the president to accept an interim deal and then figure out creatively how do you pay for this? >> do you agree? >> not really. sometimes the only way government can work is with a gun to its head. i worked for dick hephart when we cut the really big fiscal deal and that was done well a gun to our heads. back then, that deal failed twice in the house as the t.a.r.p. did. it failed the first time through. i was talking to democrats, who are experts on the budget. they are really worried about -- >> he's going to make some concessions on social security and medicare. he has his own problem.
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boehner has problem with tea party republicans but the president says he's gone more than halfway and he says, you know what, there's a reason why some republicans won't accept anything he proposes. listen to this. >> they keep on finding ways to say no as opposed to finding ways to say yes. i don't know how much that has to do with, you know, in it very hard for them to say yes to me. but, you know, at some point they've got to take me out of it and think about their voters and think about what's best for the country. >> i guess the point he's making, i'm exaggerating a little bit. but if it comes from him, there will be republicans saying, there most be a socialist agenda why he's doing it. >> perhaps that's true and
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perhaps anything john boehner does will make democrats look suspicious. i wish we could look at this outside from the personalities. at the core of what the president is proposing is to squeeze more income taxes. other developed countries pay for things like health care in other kinds of ways that have less constraint. they use more consumption taxes, meaj tacks. the president is going to try to get more juice out of the income tax system and this is all being done when we have negotiations like, is this enough? we're talking about the next decade. can we talk about this as economic rather than political. >> the president has a plan he's going to produce and -- well, listen to what he said. >> tomorrow the house will pass
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legislation to make permanent tax relief for nearly every american. 99. 99.81% of the american people. then the president will have a decision to make. he can call on senate democrats to pass that bill or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in american history. >> all right. so there's a difference. the president says he wants to protect 98.of the american people. boehner says he wants to protect 99.81% of the american people. these guys are not that far apart, right? >> the speaker misspoke. he's a good person. but he got his time here wrong. a lot of people who looks at the speaker's proposal, so-called plan b, for example, it ends the poor people's tax credit that the president put in. so it would actually raise taxes on lots and lots of poor people and middle class people. i hope that's not his intent and i don't want to accuse him of
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that. i believe in the in other words and the propeller heads than the politician trying to sell us on it. >> the president keeps saying that there's a senate bill that will pass. if the house passes it, 98% of the american people will not get a tax increase january 1st. what boehner is saying, instead of the $2550,000, do it at a million and end this and move on and deal with these issues. >> taking a more fundamental look at our tax system. i'm a little more pro threatening and pro deadline but i do think a longer look at the tax system, should we tax carbon the way we did in the clinton administration 20 years ago, that would not only help fund the government but create pollution in the air. right now there's a fundamental principle that the country is broke. >> what the president wants, he dint care about the revenue.
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he wants to break the republican resistance because then everything will get easier in the second term. so when you deal politically, you will be dealt with politically. >> we'll leave it there. the next 24 hours will be critical. i keep saying that every single day. we're learning more about the wherebts of nancy lanza and the days leading up to the shooting. that's of nancy lanza and the days leading up to the shooting. that's coming up. about s . [ male announcer ] this december, remember -- you can stay in and like something... or you can get out there and actually like something.
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all of us who reported from newtown, connecticut, over the past few days have been deeply, deeply affected by what we saw, what we heard in the days immediately following the school massacre. one of our cnn correspondents,
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kyung lah, has brought a unique perspective on this. >> reporter: i moved back to the u.s. this last summer. for the last five years i was living in japan and in that time i never covered a shooting. there weren't any. this is my third mass shooting i've covered in just six months. >> it is a very dangerous scene, don. >> reporter: it's a little bit of a miracle, and the police will quickly point out, they just don't know how this happened. but certainly a very difficult day, wolf. >> very difficult, indeed. i hope everyone is trying to get back to normal, though it's not going to be easy. >> reporter: in this brief time, i've heard this question again and again by those victimized, most frequently by a newtown resident. >> why are we so different than
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the industrialized countries and we are -- why are we so different? why is that? >> reporter: i don't have the answer. in japan, there are almost no guns. the average person just can't get one. and i have to tell you, it's the safest place i've ever lived. here in the u.s., gun ownership is considered normal. 40% of americans own one. there are enough guns here to arm every single man, women, and child, about 300 million firearms. but these mass shootings, part of our american narrative, follow the familiar pattern. the shock, national outrage, memorials, funerals. then the conversation fades. the rest of the world wonders why. >> i have seen too many of these massacres. i have been here for 12 years and there is never anything more than a brief conversation. people outside of america can't understand that. >> reporter: but it's not all about guns. remember japan's tsunami?
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in the wake of the disaster, people lined up for food and water. there was never any violence or rioting or crime. it's about society. individual rights are second to the community's needs in japan. here in the united states, the constitution, including the second amendment, is considered sacrisanct, we prize freedom, the good and the bad. >> it's about freedom. freedom works both ways. if americans would waive their freedom to buy guns any time, anywhere in any kind of situation, then that would have given these kids at the elementary school the freedom to live. >> reporter: i met these three men who fought for freedom in iraq and afghanistan. these men of war were so disturbed about the newtown shootings that they came here on their day off to donate christmas trees at the town hall. they wonder, what is this national security that they are fighting so hard for? >> to come home to what you think is safe and experience the same thing here, it's troubling
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and it's -- it brings such sorrow to everyone, the whole army. >> reporter: none of us have the answer. but maybe the deaths of the shooter's mother, 20 innocent children and their brave teachers will this time keep a vital american conversation going. kyung lah, cnn, newtown, connecticut. and we are just getting in some new information about nancy lanza, mother of the gunman in the school massacre who became her son's first victim last friday morning. rita cosby of our sister network hln has been working this story for us from newtown. what are you learning, rita. >> reporter: wolf, we have just learned from several friends close to nancy lanza that she was not home in the house behind me where she was murdered by her own son for the 2 1/2 days before that killing took place. now, i've confirmed this information with a hotel.
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it's the omnimt. washington hotel and resort in northern new hampshire. and what's significant about this is the timing, wolf. let me give you the information that we have confirmed from multiple sources, telling me exclusively that on tuesday, this is december 11th, nancy lanza checked in alone at 12:10 a.m. she checked out of this hotel, again, 4 1/2 hours drive away from here, on thursday. that is the 13th at 12:27 p.m. again, a 4 1/2 hours drive. now, i have been told from many friends close to the lanza family that in recent years nancy lanza did feel comfortable to leave her son alone and that she would often leave her son adam alone in the house on some short mine knee vacations. she would actually cook for him, make pre-made meals because she didn't want him cooking when he was not in the house but felt comfortable enough to leave him
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alone in the house. additionally, i've also spoken to a number of friends and i have physically seen written communications between nancy lanza and her friends on wednesday night, the latest one being about 181:00 eastern time. in those communications she talks about being away on a trip, that she is planning oncoming back very soon and appears to be in very good spirits, does not seem to be concerned about anything at all. this is very significant, wolf, because we know that adam lanza clearly had a lot of preparation that he had to do before he killed his mother over here and then went over to the school, which was about five miles away. everyone was wondering how could that be with his mother watching him with the two of them in this house. well, now we are finding out that the mother was not home for 2 1/2 days and could have come home -- the earliest could have been, according to this information, if she checks out of the hotel on thursday, again, about a 4 1/2 hour drive, she
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always drove. you figure she wouldn't have been here until 5:00 at the earliest, leaving him alone again for nearly 2 1/2 days. again, we know also from the medical examiner that we were given exclusive information from the medical examiner that nancy lanza was found home, she was in her bedroom. she was shot four times in the head while she was in her pajamas asleep and they believe she was killed friday morning by her son. >> yeah, just before he left the house and then he went to that school. rita, thank you very much. we're going to check back with you. rita, giving us some new information on the whereabouts of nancy lanza before this murder. we're going to take a quick break. be back right before the top of the hours. while floating on a suspension made of billowy clouds. or you could just hand them your keys.
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. you're in "the situation room." a blistering report faults the state department for the deadly attack on four americans in benghazi. i'll ask one of the reporters ohhen the scene whether she was contacted for testimony. also, surprising new details about the father of the newtown gunman. the last time the two had any communication. and five years after losing his daughter in the virginia tech tragedy. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." three state department officials have resigned their posts in the
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wake of a skating report on the atacks in benghazi that led three americans dead. the report cites systematic failures which resulted in a security plan in the words of the report, grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place. despite the criticism, it says that no employee was involved in misconduct and none should be disciplined. arwa damon, you were one of the first reporters to get to the scene of benghazi. you've now gone through this report. did anything jump out at you? did anything really surprise you, based on your own auto r eyewitness reporting from the scene? >> reporter: what the report really did was validate information that we were able to
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obtain from witnessless at the scene, from the local guards that we interviewed at the compound itself. of course, as we now know from this report as well, this was a gross miss calculation from the threat that existed and security threats were not adequate at the consulate in and of itself. some of the detail in the report has helped us put together a picture of what took place as the attack was unfolding. just as chilling to read through it now as it was to actually be there and picture it to a certain degree in one's mind. the window that is spoken about at the report, which is how one of the security guards managed to crawl out, it was the safe room where ambassador stevens was, in fact, later found dead, these sorts of details were what jumped out. but in terms of what took place, how it took place, and the fact that there wasn't adequate
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security, no, that was not surprising at all. >> the lawlessness, the wild nature of what was going on in benghazi, the various militias, al qaeda elements, there seemed to almost be a recleness as far as allowing u.s. diplomats, u.s. officials in benghazi at the time, that certainly comes across in this report. >> reporter: and also at the time that the attack took place, they were among the only western target that existed there. there had been a series of attacks in the months leading up to the september 11th attack that caused the british government, for example, to withdraw its personnel, the u.n. had been targeted there. the icrc was targeted as well. the question is, why did the u.s. decide to stay and not to mention, as we were reporting at
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the time, a number of libyan security officials, members of the libyan security forces were warning the americans that these islam mist militias were growing in strength, that they were concerned that they could not control them and they were warning the u.s., not perhaps specifically about an attack taking place on september 11th but that an attack was inevitable and was going to happen because the libyans were incapable of stopping these groups. >> i've gone through the report and looked at the reporting that you did immediately and following the benghazi attack and your reporting was spot-on. it was perfect. it was all validated by what we see in this final report even though you got some criticism at the time for reporting what you were reporting by some critics but your reporting was excellent, as all of our viewers know. here's the question. did the state department, any members of this commission come
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to you and say, arwa, you were there, we weren't there, do you want to help us? did they ask you for any testimony, any of your eyewitness recollections? >> no, no one reached out, wolf. >> i'm surprised they didn't. arwa damon, thanks so much. arwa damon reporting for us from beirut. so what, if anything, does this report mean for the secretary of state hillary clinton? elise labott is joining us. the report says no individual was in actual breach of duty but who did the panel view as being responsible or negligent, shall we say? >> well, wolf, the panel makes a little bit of a distinction between kind of dereliction of duty and breach of duty as a league term and deficiencies in management, which clearly the panel said that senior leadership in the bureaus of diplomatic security, who is in charge of security for overseas
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and policy shot for the middle east were really at fault for showing a lack of leadership and, as we've been saying, a lack of understanding of the threat. we've had three resignations today at the state department, head of diplomatic security, eric boswell, his deputy charlene lamb who testified before the oversight committee and was seen in a lot of these documents to have denied repeated requests for security and also raymond maxwell, the deputy assistance secretary. and one of the recommendations of this report, while they didn't find anybody legally breaching duties, they did say as part of their recommendations that management deficiencies should be addressed. >> they certainly did. what about secretary hillary clinton? >> she's largely avoided criticism of this. the secretary will not be
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testifying tomorrow before senate and house committees. she's ill and is suffering from a concussion and is resting under doctor's orders. but what the panel said, even though the secretary has publicly said that she takes responsibility, even in an interview that i did with her and was run on this show, wolf, she says she took full responsibility for everything that happens at the state department and those employees were under her watch, the panel said that this is really at a management level of some of these bureaus and they never brought it up to the chain of command so that anybody of a high level, like the secretary, could do something about it. wolf, let's take a listen to ambassador tom pickering who talked specifically about why they placed the blame where they did. >> at the assistance secretary
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level, which is, in our view, the appropriate place to look. where the decision making takes place. where if you like the rubber hits the road. >> we just found, someone who has run large organizations and secretary of state has been very clear here, it was, from my point, not reasonable in terms of her having a specific level of knowledge, that was resident in her staff and certainly over time did not bring that to her attention. >> wolf, and still some members of congress, particularly the head of the house international affairs committee said she would like to hear from the secretary and indeed the secretary said she hopes to testify before the committee when she's feeling better after the break. >> she's not feeling well right now. she had the flu, she was dehydrated, she fainted, she had a concussion.
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what's the latest on her health? how's she doing? >> well, doctors say that she needs to have some rest. clearly she was going to take some time off for the holidays anyway. so her staff hopes that she's definitely on the mend and her staff hopes that she'll be coming back soon in the new year. wolf, this is a small blemish in an otherwise really kind of popular four years for the secretary and i think that her staff really does want her to testify before the committee and put this behind her. she's largely avoided criticism and is likely to continue to avoid criticism. when she speaks on behalf of the department, wolf, people really listen to her and give her the benefit of the doubt. >> we certainly hope that she recuperates and feels better, no doubt about that, elise, thank you. meanwhile, new details about adam lanza and his relationship with his father. what role he played in the
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gunman's life. and some suggest arming teachers could be the answer in the wake of the tragedy. but could that pose other risks in the heat of the moment? what one security expert is now saying. red jars are all the same right? wrong! you need three uses of a $15 cream to equal the moisturizing power of one use of regenerist microsculpting cream. seems not all red jars are created equal. olay regenerist. nature valley granola thins pack the big taste of granola and dark chocolate into one perfect square, under 100 calories. nature valley granola thins.
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this invitation is brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home. yet another day of what may be many funerals to come in the town of newtown, connecticut. among those laid to rest, the first grade teacher victoria soto. president obama announce tud day that vice president joe biden will lead a group charged with developing recommendations without delay to address the issue of gun violence across the united states. all this as authorities work to determine a motive for this horrifying massacre. our own mary snow is taking a closer look at the father of the gunman, adam lanza. mary, be what are you finding out? >> wolf, one of the people that police turned to in the hours after the shooting was peter lanza. we haven't heard much about
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peter lanza besides his professional relationship. we are now learning about a strained relationship with his son. peter lanza's home is less than an hour away from where his son opened fire at sandy hook elementary school. a person who knows him says he hadn't had any communication with his son for about two years, when adam cut his father out of his life, about the time that the elder lanza remarried. until then, peter lanza, an executive with ge, had weekly visits with adam lanza. he hadn't lived in the home since 2001. in the hours after the shooting, a reporter for the stamford advocate, outside peter lanza's house, told cnn's wolf blitzer that he was unaware of his son being involved in the shooting. >> we have a report that
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somebody at this address is connected at the shooting in newtown and his face just went from -- you know, had he been this very polite stranger making pleasantries with me and he went from that to sort of shock and then just this horrified look and, you know, essentially declined comment, rolled up his window and went inside his house. >> since then, he released a statement, adding, we are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. we, too, are asking why. peter lanza's sister-in-law told reporters that both lanza and his ex-wife were committed to their kids' welfare. >> they were the type of parent even while married and separated if the kids had a need, they would fill it. court documents show a comfortable lifestyle. the divorce was finalized when adam was 17. alimony was set for this year at
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$289,000. those documents also show peter lan gla would pay for his son's college and graduate school, medical insurance, and provide a car for him. peter lanza was questioned by investigators as they searched for a motive. he said that he cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. wolf? >> mary, thank you. this devastating tragedy has defined the debate over whether teachers in school should actually be armed. let's bring in lisa sylvester. she's been working this story for us, a very sensitive story. some very different points of view. >> wolf, there is a bill being introduced in south carolina. another bill is being proposed in tennessee. virginia's governor has brought it up, allowing school personnel to be armed. even the talk of arming teachers is creating a tremendous
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backlash. he is the owner of the blue ridge gun store. since the newtown shootings, gun owners got a bad rap. >> whether you cut it down to five, one, it still does the same damage, which is bad, okay. what we need to be doing is teaching gun safety and education. also take care of mental health issues. >> reporter: new calls in washington to bring back the assault weapons ban and other gun control measures. that's having an impact here. >> this rack used to be filled with magazines like this but because of concerns of new gun control laws, you can see, they are all gone. supporters say the answer is not making it easier to get ahold of a weapon but beefing up school security.
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virginia's governor saying that arming teachers is one option that should at least be considered. >> i know there's been a kn knee-jerk reaction against that. i think there should at least be a discussion. if people were armed, other school officials that were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would have been an opportunity to stop aggressors coming into the school. >> frank nicely wants more armed police officers in the schools, including on the elementalry school level. >> the goal is to have some type of security in all schools and the ones that can afford a resource officer, that would be the first step. there could be other options for volunteers or trained staff. >> but talk of putting more guns in schools, that has been criticized. the president of the brady
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campaign for gun violence says that is insane and will lead to more violent acts and there's a high risk innocent bystanders could be hurt. >> do i want 15 or 20 people throwing rounds in a very dynamic, very friendly occupied environment? that's a whole other situation that has to be addressed. i don't think it's necessarily the best solution. >> now, i asked earl curtis, the owner of that gun store in virginia, did he think it was a good idea to arm teachers and principals? he said he did not. you need to deal with people who have proper training, maybe a police officer expanding these resource officers but to put more guns in school, wolf, he says that is asking for trouble. >> there's going to be a big debate on this issue, as you point out accurately. there's going to be a lot of discussion and we'll see what joe biden committee -- what they recommend, if anything. >> i think that the consensus is that something is going to be done and then the question is,
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as we go forward, we'll see the details. but the assault weapons, i think certainly there's a lot of talk about bringing that ban back once again. >> thank you very much, lisa. child care workers at a military daycare are accused of abuse and now president obama is demanding answers. why this scandal is spreading. lots of news happening right here in "the situation room." . tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 at schwab, we're committed to offering you tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 low-cost investment options-- tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 like our exchange traded funds, or etfs tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 which now have the lowest tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 operating expenses tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 in their respective tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 lipper categories. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 lower than spdr tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 and even lower than vanguard. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 that means with schwab, tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 your portfolio has tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 a better chance to grow. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 and you can trade all our etfs online, tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 commission-free, from your schwab account. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 so let's talk about saving money, tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 with schwab etfs. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 schwab etfs now have the lowest operating expenses tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 in their respective lipper categories. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 call 1-800-4schwab
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the united nations is painting a dire picture of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in syria. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and other stories here in the situation room. what is going on? >> a quarter of the population
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in syria is in need of food, shelter, medical area or other aid. the situation is, quote, dramatically deteriorating. the u.n. says half a million syrians have fled the civil war and barbara mikulski will become the chair of the senate appropriations committee: mikulski would be the first female to chair that powerful committee. and we have new information on this video. take a look here. this has been causing quite the sensation on the internet. it purports to show a child being taken by an eagle but it t is a hoax. it hasn't stopped it from getting more than a million hits in youtube since being posted last night. and the photo sharing app
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instagram is backtracking by suggesting it owns photos and can use them without providing compensation. the co-founder says that the language is being removed in the user language. and talk about an uproar, i know a lot of people were buzzing about that saying, wait a minute, instagram is going to own our photos and sell them to advertising agencies? so i am not surprised a bit that they are backtracking on this, wolf. >> i'm skeptical. let's go through all of the language before we draw any final conclusions. >> good point, wolf. it's been five years since one father shared with me the wrenching loss of his daughter in the virginia tech massacre. and now the father is back with what could be some very helpful advice for the parent of the children killed in newtown, connecticut. g? yeah.
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the parents of the victim in the newtown massacre have a new reality, life without their child. almost six years ago i spoke to one father who had just lost his father in the virginia tech shooting. >> and i knew he was in that building and found out she was that -- that class was on the second floor and i got concerned. i kept it internally because i always try to have hope and hold out hope and so did my wife and children but all the time i was thinking about the worst that happened to her. >> and you weren't getting information from the campus authorities or officials or police or hospital or anybody? >> nobody could put the names of the victims with their i.d.s as they were taken out of the room. so if they couldn't speak for some reason, they didn't know
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who they were. we called the hospitals and that's how i did my homework. she was not on any list of wounded or injured. the morgue was the next natural place to call. >> did you actually go there? >> no, we did not go there. they wouldn't allow us to go there and they weren't releasing any names until they could do a positive i.d. >> so what time did you get the confirmation of this horrible, horrible news? >> probably around an hour later, around 7:15, 7:30. >> last night? >> it was actually a young fellow on campus, a friend who was at the building at the time and new the ambulance drivers and he's the one that came in and breek the news to me. >> we don't understand why this can happen, be why bad things can happen to good people. >> we just believe and we hope and i grieved for the other families. it's just senseless.
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>> and joseph is joining us. he's the father of reema. thank very much. >> thank you, wolf. >> i'm sorry you're living through this once again. but first of all, how are you doing? >> fine. it's retrauma tie zags of all of the families and victims of our tragedy as well and i'm sure other tragedies across the country. just two days prior to newtown there was a mall massacre. we had forgotten about that. there was northern illinois university and the other schools. we just can't forget them. i know those families are retraumatized. >> your son omar, how is he doing? >> he's doing well. he's very involved in public safety issues as well. what's come out of this tragedy is something i think that's amazing and i want to tell the families of newtown, there is hope. >> there is hope, you say. so when you heard the news of these 20 little first graders gunned down in newtown friday morning, six educators, all women, what was your immediate
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reaction? >> numbness. just shock. horror. i couldn't believe it. you just swell up. your eyes tear up. when will it ever stop? what can we do to make sure it doesn't happen or make it harder for it not to happen again. >> because you've lived through this horror. so give -- yes. >> if any of these parents are watching right now, what advice do you have for them? >> well, i will tell you, wolf, that these families in newtown, the sandy hook school families are on islands right now. the issues that we're talking about, the social issues we're talking about, the gun debate we're talking about, security in schools, that's a vortex swirling around them right now. their immediate attention is themselves. between themselves, interfamily relationships. they are worried about, you know, what clothes they are going to put on their children
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to bury them muchless worry about what is going to go on with the gun issue. >> what do you expect they will have to endure in the coming months? >> i expect, now that they are on these islands, there have to be bridging built to those islands. there's a lot of love and care going into that. they will reach out to each other. they will form hopefully a support group amongst themselves to deal with this tragedy. at some point in time, the -- you know, the issue of politics will come into this. but they are not ready for that right now. they will look amongst themselves and say, what can we do about this tragedy and what can we build as a living legacy for our children, for those diamonds in the sky? >> and the immediate -- you know, over these past five, almost six years, walk us through a little bit, the different transitions that you've gone through. >> well, the transitions can be, again, some people take action and some people take a spiritual
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road, some people take a political road. and my family personally, we took both roads. my wife took the spiritual road and i took the political road, what am i going to do about this tragedy. the important thing that these families need to do is continue to hold hands even though they are on parl legals and different paths because some day they are going to look at each other and say, what can we do? not everybody wants to do something about it. some people will go home and lock the door and turn out the lights. that's the worst thing that could happen. >> reema was your youngest. >> yes, she is. >> remind us about reema. >> reema -- i hear it over and over again, one of the dads, robbie walker talking about his daughter, that was me 5 1/2 years ago and talking about my daughter, wanting the world to know how great she was and how beautiful she was and i cannot but reflect on the others that were killed as well and their beautiful lives, which you'll find, wolf, is a vain -- very
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similar vein that flows through these bodies, they are very good people and loving people and beautiful children. >> tell us about the foundation that you've started to help deal with campus security. because your daughter, like others, it was the worst school massacre in history, virginia tech university. tell us about this foundation and what you're doing. >> yes, i will. it's tough to rank the tragedies, you know. >> we're talking in terms of the numbers. >> exactly. exact legal. well, you know, a number of families sat around a table two months after our tragedy and our tears and our grief and said, what can we do about this? our first thoughts went to the survivors of the tragedy, what do we do to hem them? what do we do for ourselves, the ptsd, our lives were changed forever and then the second thing we said, what will we do as a living legacy for those that were killed?
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and as a group, over time, we decided that we would form this foundation as a support group and then our program for 382 national campus safety index evolved. we sat around saying, what are we going to do as a living legacy and this index, which will basically grade schools and universities on various criteria. among them, the mental health support that they get at universities, among them, sharing of information. very important if you have a problem child in a school. and also threat assessment teams. so there are 32 criteria and schools will be ranked by those criteria. we can talk about the hardware, which are the locks on the door and glasseses and how we're going to build these buildings but we have to talk about the software. how do we take care of these children from elementary school all the way through university.
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there's a continuum that we need to talk about. that's the software. >> really important information. vtv family foundation. we've put it up there. what can i say? i wish this situation was different. thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with our viewers, especially right now. >> i appreciate it. thank you for your time. >> joseph's daughter was killed at virginia tech university. president obama says the fact that republicans are rejecting his latest cliff offer to him -- and i'm quoting him now -- is puzzling. [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all?
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getting some new information
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on secretary of state hillary clinton and when she may appear before congress in the whole benghazi story. dana bash is working her sources. dana, what are you learning? >> reporter: well, i'm learning from the chair woman of the house foreign committee that hillary clinton has committed to testifying next month, probably mid-january. of course, this is an issue because the big hearings are going to happen tomorrow but the secretary is not going to be here. she's going to send two of her deputies instead. she had the stomach flu and then fainted and fell and hit her head and got a concussion. the secretary is feeling better and that she will, in fact, testify. this is something that the members of congress want in a big way. they want the big kahuna, the secretary of state to come here and talk about the things that we all know in the report that came out today about benghazi, all of the things that we know that went really, really wrong. >> we'll see what happens on
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that front. on the other big story that you're following, the fiscal cliff negotiations, the stalemate, what have you, what else are you learning on that front? >> reporter: well, it's less than two weeks before we go careening off the fiscal cliff. the pointing and blaming is going across all party lines. using the bully bulpit, mr. obama is -- >> take the deal. they will be able to claim that they have worked with me over the last two years to reduce the deficit than any other and the fact that the president called republicans out on the politics behind some gop resistance.
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a deal with him is hard to swallow. >> they keep finding ways to say no as opposed to finding ways to say yes. i don't know how much of that has to do with, you know, it is very hard for them to say yes to me. >> reporter: the deal he's proposing is a roughly $2 trillion deficit reduction, half from tax increases and spending cuts. the house speaker rebuts the president and his math. >> $850 billion in spending reductions fails to meet the test that the president promised the american people, a balanced approach. >> reporter: but with every american's taxes on the verge of going up, the house is moving towards a thursday vote on republican's plan b, a bill to keep tax cuts in place for households making under $1
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million. the speaker challenged the president to support it or -- >> he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in american history. >> several gop lawmakers tell cnn it's important for republicans reluck tachbt to give any ground on taxes to go on the record as opposing tax increases for most americans. >> as soon as we get this revenue thing on the table, then we can really negotiate. >> reporter: still, even raising tacks on millionaires is a tough sell for some republicans. gop leaders are scrambling for votes. >> i don't think any of us are going to go on record for raising taxes in the ruch house of representatives, what are we getting in return? >> the speaker did get a boost from grover norquist, who has locked most house republicans into an antitax pledge. still, several house republican
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sources are telling me that the speaker still does not have the votes even to pass his plan b and they are really moving very hard right now trying to twist arms on the house floor as we speak to get those votes. wolf, i'm also told by republican sources that one of the things they are considering to lure those reluctant house republicans is to add spending cuts to this because they say that they just don't want to vote for any kind of tax increase at all, even if it's for millionaires but maybe it will be easier to swallow if they also have a vote on spending cuts and they are meeting about that as we speak. >> we'll see if john boehner can get 218 votes in the house of representatives. we'll know more tomorrow. dana, thank you. he calls it the week from hell but says it's his job to take care of what needs to be done. up next, you're going to meet the people preparing so many children's funerals.
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oh, let me guess --ou see this? more washington gridlock. no, it's worse -- look, our taxes are about to go up. not the taxes on our dividends though, right? that's a big part of our retirement. oh, no, it's dividends, too. the rate on our dividends would more than double. but we depend on our dividends to help pay our bills. we worked hard to save. well, the president and congress have got to work together to stop this dividend tax hike. before it's too late.
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four sandy hook elementary school victims were laid to rest today, an unimagine blee painful experience. poppy harlow reports. >> reporter: the first call came in at 7:00 saturday morning. >> once the magnitude came, i said, well, we've got to get things planned out so we can do what we have to do. >> reporter: the pain in his eyes concealed by his had glasses, daniel run ares the daniel honenan runs the only funeral home in newtown. >> one girl, the funeral we had yesterday, she loved orca whales. >> reporter: 11 of the children murdered at sandy hook elementary are being remembered here. long lines outside, now a painful sight all too common in
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this picturesque town. >> tragedy has fallen here in newtown -- it's landed here. and it's our job to take care of what has to be done. that's what we do. >> reporter: the calls are the families, difficult beyond words. >> they wanted to make something that would, you know, last -- a lasting memory for them, that would make what they thought their child's life should be. a reminder of what their children were. many of the children had favorite hobbies. one girl loved horses and animals and wanted to be a vet. one boy was the giants fan. >> started by his grandfather more than a hundred years ago, this funeral home is where honan grew up. but he has never seen anything as tragic as this. i've read that you called this
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the week from hell. >> well, yes, it is the week from hell, but we'll get through it. >> their innocence was taken away from them, and that makes it very, very difficult for us to deal with. >> reporter: pasquale runs the connecticut funeral director's association and has gathered more than 100 volunteers to help with the newtown funerals. >> we want to try to ease their pain, just a little bit. it can never take it away, fully. >> mentally, how do you prepare to talk to these families? >> you prepare yourself, knowing that you have a role to play, and that role is to assist them, in helping them say good-bye to their little girl. you walk in, i walk in, and i personally give each family a hug. >> reporter: he's doing what he's done since receivhe was 16. but these feel too close to home. >> it feels very heart wrenching. my daughters are 8 and 10 and 17. and when i give them, i give them an extra hug.
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>> reporter: how do you keep your composurcomposure, doing th day, more children? >> it's very, very difficult. in the evening, when you go home, you deal with it. you talk to your family, you sort of collect your thoughts and try to cry. cry. that's what we do. >> reporter: for honan, the coping will come in the weeks ahead. for now, he tries to tune it out. >> when i go home at night, i don't -- when i turn the tv on, i turn it on to -- i've been watching christmas movies. it's an escape. and, you know, i find great comfort in my wife. my wife is -- my wife is my rock. >> reporter: his rock. and a rock is what just about everyone in this town needs right now, wolf. i can tell you that honan has gotten some 2,000 e-mails from funeral directors across the country, wanting to help, and
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the only help for these families right now is that at least the cost of the funerals for all of those 11 kids at honan's funeral home has been donated. volunteers, people donating caskets, everything they need will be covered. where we are joining you from tonight is at western connecticut state university. in less than an hour, they will hold a tribute here. they're expecting about 4,000 people from around the community. the local choir will sing "amazing grace." they're giving out these candles for everyone. just another moment for people in this community to come together and to try to grieve together through all of this. >> these moments are very, very important for all these people in the community there. thank you, poppy. thanks for that report. we'll be right back.
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new information about a scandal involving workers at a day care center on a u.s. military base in virginia. child care workers there are accused of, among other things, slapping children. our pentagon correspondent, barbara star, has been working this story. what's going on here, barbara? >> wolf, on a week when the nation is focused on the safety of small children, the u.s. army is getting a failing grade. last night, president obama had to take the very unusual step of telephoning the secretary of the army, john mchew, to express his concerns about arrests of these child care workers near this facility at the pentagon, at this facility, as well as problems with background checks against these workers who worked at this day care facility. a furious defense secretary leon panetta last night ordered a review of all military child care facilities. these two workers, the initial
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two that had been arrested back in september, charged with things like dragging little kids across the floor, slapping them, pinching them, all of this now, a growing scandal and getting the president's attention, wolf. >> well, tell us why the president, the commander in chief, is now involved in this? >> you bet. how unusual is that? not just because of the headlines across the country this week, but here's what's going on behind the scenes. 30 workers, 30 child care workers were removed from their jobs last friday. these people were found to have background checks that involved things like assault, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor. all of this was in their background, and yet it hadn't been brought to the attention when they got hired. all of these things would have disqualified them immediately from working at any child care facility. so, furious, again, leon panetta stepped in. these people were removed last friday by the army.
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but here's what's interesting. panetta last night ordered a review, because yesterday was the first time anybody told defense secretary leon panetta about this problem. wolf? >> do we know what started this whole investigation? >> well, you know, it was those two workers. back in september, two workers were arrested for what is called simple assault against children under the age of 5 at this military child care facility. they actually have now appeared in court against the charges that are against them. again, things like dragging little kids across the floor, pinching them, slapping them. that's what starts this all. from september until now, they have been investigating and they have found a total of 30 child care workers that should never have been hired to work at this facility. but the thing that nobody can really explain at this point, wolf, they're finally removed from their jobs, on friday. panetta is told last night, the president is told, it's not clear between september and last
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night why nobody mentioned it to the higher ups. and even the secretary of the army didn't know until last friday. wolf? >> yeah, disgusting. barbara, thank you. happening now, a new deadline for cracking down on gun violence. president obama gets specific about his promise to try to prevent another shooting massacre. an independent review of the benghazi attack is scathing. scathing criticism of the state department. house intelligence committee chairman mike rogers tells us why he still isn't satisfied. he's here this hour. and cnn gets early details of a shocking new report on sex crimes at u.s. military academies. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." president obama says it won't be easy to pass meaningful new gun control legislation, but he also says after the newtown massacre, there's no excuse not to try.
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this was a man who held the grandchild of sandy hook elementary school's fallen principal, who tried to comfort victims' families during the most horrific times in their lives. but can he harness the raw emotion to get real action. le let's go to our white house correspondent, brianna keilar. she's got the latest. >> reporter: hi, wolf. for the first time, president obama today laid out a timeline for his administration to act. appointing vice president joe biden to lead a group of cabinet secretaries, outside organizations, as well as lawmakers to come up with solutions, and he said he wants the recommendations no later than january. the president said this time, washington won't just talk about tackling gun violence. >> this is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six simmomonths a publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. this is a team that has a very specific task.
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to pull together real reforms, right now. >> reporter: he urged congress to vote early next year on an assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips, and close the gun show loophole, so all gun purchasers are subject to background checks. the president's task force will recommend policies beyond gun control. >> we're going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun. we're going to need to look more closely at a cultural that all too often glorifies guns and violence. >> the president is hoping to seize this moment of heightened public awareness to push washington to change. >> if there's one thing we should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what's important. >> reporter: the announcement is quieting criticism from within the president's own ranks. congresswoman carolyn mccarthy, who lost her husband in a mass shooting, now feels the president is showing leadership. >> we will follow the president's commission on
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education, mental health, and all the other things that need to be done to keep us safe. >> reporter: but far-reaching gun regulations will no doubt be met with resistance from the national rifle association, which has yet to weigh in on the debate, but will hold a press conference friday. senior administration officials say they are ready. >> the nra is an organization that has members who are mothers and fathers. and i would expect that they've been impacted by this as well. and hopefully they'll do some self-reflection. >> reporter: polls show there is an uptick in support for stricter gun legislation, following the shooting in connecticut. but, wolf, the question is, will it last? will it be enough for americans to sway lawmakers? president obama said he plans to use the bully pulpit, take it directly to the american people, and he's confident that he can rally support from them, wolf. >> brie yanna keilar at the whi house, thank you. let's see how the president does. let's see what joe biden does as well. the people of newtown,
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connecticut, buried four more shooting victims today. three children and a teacher who died trying to protect them. kate balduan is here. kate, you and i spent four days in newtown. very emotional, obviously, for everyone, including for us. >> and so tough to watch the suffering of this community and the suffering of these families, who have lost such little children, especially now when we're seeing these funerals taking place. you know, we get to come home to our families. these families in newtown, the nightmare continues. >> it's almost never-ending. i can only imagine what these people are going through right now. and as we watch what's going on, new details are coming in, and i don't know how these people are reacting. >> it's, you know, i think the last thing on their mind is the new details of the investigation, but that's part of this unfortunate horror that we have to continue covering, of course. let's bring in cnn's national correspondent, deborah feyerick. she's been following the investigation into the gunman and getting more information about nancy lanza, the gunman's
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mother, who was also a victim in this tragedy, more information about nancy lanza's whereabouts in the days before the shooting. update our viewers, deborah. >> reporter: yeah, well, kate and wolf, what we're learning right now is that nancy lanza was away in the days leading up to this murder. my colleague, rita cosby, has confirmed that nancy lanza left tuesday morning and spent almost three full days at a resort in new hampshire. now, it's unclear whether she left her son home alone. she did that occasionally. she would cook him some meals and then leave him by himself. it's not clear whether he was alone during this time. but we do know that nancy lanza was not there in the days before the shooting. she returned thursday evening. friday, friday her son shot her four times in the head. now, we want to kind of show you what is going on behind me here at this house. this has been an active scene all day long. the major crime scene squad has been on site. they've had more than eight investigators throughout the course of the day. they brought the mobile crime
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lab, which is also up there, just to the left of the house. but you can see the lights on in the second floor and also on the main floor there, of the primary residence. we do know that they're looking through all sorts of things. they're looking through papers, they're looking through documents, they're looking through file cabinet. they're trying to get any evidence that they can. and the reason that the crime scene lab is there, is that they're able to process information on scene. information that they can take and then bring to a lab a little later on. but they've been in that home all day, combing through those papers. they've been dropping people off and people have been coming back and forth. sop we did see about noon today, they did carry out a huge box of what appeared to be evidence. so, it is still very much ongoing, as they try to search for information. they're also going through the medicine cabinets, to see whether, in fact, there was any medication that the gunman may have been taking. that is a big piece of this investigation, as to whether there may have been some underlying psychiatric disorder that triggered him to go on this rampage. it has been reported that he had
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asperger's, but now he's looking into whether there was something more that was going on. this trip that nancy lanza may have taken could also have been a pretty big trigger, because she was away. and so he was home, not clear whether somebody was checking in on him. but he had cut off all communication with his father about two years ago, at the time the divorce was official and his father remarried. so whether he felt that his mother was sort of leaving him, that's something also that investigators are looking very, very closely at, as to what was going on before he did this terrible crime. kate, wolf? >> yeah, clear many questions still oftunanswered and the investigation continues. deborah feyerick, thank you so much, deborah. other news we're following right now, including the secretary of state, hillary clinton. we're now told she is planning to testify before congress in mid-january about the attack on the united states diplomatic mission in benghazi, libya. she canceled an appearance tomorrow because she's been ill. she fainted and suffered a concussion. she's recuperating right now. three state department officials
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have resigned after a scathing new review of the benghazi attack. senior officials tell cnn, two of those who stepped down oversaw security decisions at the diplomatic mission. our pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence, is joining us now with more on this new report. a very tough report. the secrets it reveals. what's in this report, chris? >> well, wolf, we now know that the state department officials knew that radical islamic groups are operating around benghazi and that there'd been a spike in attacks on western targets. they were getting almost no help from the libyan government in helping to secure that mission. so they were relying on some militia members to help guard the perimeter of the compound. by this report, we now know that those militia members simply ran away when the crowd approached. and although investigators can't be entirely sure the speed at which those attackers came through that front gate, it at least raises the possibility that the guards simply left it
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open. protests erupted across the middle east on september 11th. but despite the obama administration claiming benghazi began as a protest -- >> what happened in benghazi was, in fact, initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in cairo. this was not a pre-planned, pre-meditated attack. >> reporter: a new report definitively says that's not true. "the board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks." investigators lay the blame for benghazi on bureaucracy, missed warning signs with, and grossly inadequate security. they interviewed more than 100 people and read through thousands of documents, detailing the desperate attempts to save the u.s. ambassador. as smoke engulfed their safe area, ambassador chris stevens and two others crawled to a bathroom. one of them was a security officer, and he opened a window, trying desperately to get some
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air. instead, more smoke poured in. they couldn't see, couldn't breathe. so the officer crawled out, blindly, yelling for the others to follow. he slipped through another window and collapsed outside. only then realizing he was alone. within a week of the attack, cnn's arwa damon walked through that compound. >> the bathroom when we saw it was covered in black soot and there were what appeared to be bloodstains. >> the shocking deaths prompted a rush to the microphones. members of congress claiming officials ignored red flags. >> why was the security at the consulate so inadequate, despite two previous attacks on that facility? in april and june of this year, an assassination attempt on the british ambassador in benghazi. >> reporter: but the report says consulate workers became desensitized to the threat. "the longer a post is exposed to continuing high levels of violence, the more it comes to consider security incidents which might otherwise provoke a reaction as normal."
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some suggested a quicker reaction could have helped save the ambassador. >> why couldn't the greatest military in the world respond? >> well, the simple answer to that is, they just weren't close enough. the reporting knowledges that the pentagon dispatches a quick reaction force from europe and rerouted a surveillance drone over benghazi, but bottom line, it just was not close enough and there wasn't enough time to make a difference. >> this is a scathing, scathing, very tough report. i read it and i must say, it's pretty shocking that there was so much dereliction of responsibility in protecting american diplomats in benghazi. we're going to have much more on this. chris, thank you very, very much. and i know you read it as well, kate. >> yeah, as wolf just said, tough criticism of the state department in that benghazi report. so how much responsibility should lie with secretary of state hillary clinton? we'll talk about that and much
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more with the chairman of the house intelligence committee, mike rogers, coming up. also, what could an expert on genetics reveal about newtown gunman adam lanza? dr. sanjay gupta joins us to talk about the investigation. in? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh... whew. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. ship fedex express by december 22nd for christmas delivery. what starts with adding a friend... ♪ ...could end with adding a close friend. the lexus december to remember sales event is on. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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to switch, and you could save hundreds. liberty mutual insurance -- responsibility. what's your policy? a new twist in the connecticut school shooting investigation. the state medical examiner reportedly is asking for help from a genetics expert. the goal, to see if adam lanza's medical history may have played a role in the shooting. let's bring in our chief medical correspondent, dr. sanjay gupta. sanj sanjay, what clues, if any, can a postmortem genetics test provide investigators? >> i think very few clues, wolf. certainly, this idea that perhaps finding some genetic clue as to what motivated all of this, i think, is very unlikely. a couple of reasons why, wolf. i mean, first of all, there's not clear-cut sort of genes identified with the types of
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illnesses, mental illnesses that might cause this sort of behavior. so i think, simply saying, oh, we found a jean, therefore it explains this, i think, is very unlikely. also, there are people who carry these genes who don't have the behaviors still. so i think it's very hard to sort of put those two things together. genetic analysis can be useful sometimes if there's unanswered questions still about, you know, where somebody was or what exactly happened or if there's a sudden unusual death. like somebody just drops dead suddenly and there's no explanation. it can be helpful in those situations. but my guess, wolf, is this, unfortunately, is not going to provide much in the way of any answers. >> i suspect you're right too, based on when i'm hearing from others. a murder/suicide. you've done some research into this. what do we -- what can we learn? here he goes, does a mass murder, and then he kills himself. what does that say? >> there's no hard and fast rules, but let me put it to you like this. if you start with this idea, did the person really know right from wrong?
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we talk about this whole, how in touch with reality the person may have been. for example, the arizona shooter, the aurora shooter. they did not kill themselves at the end of this. and, you know, if you sort of dig in and look at some of the follow-up medical part of their investigation, they find that if they were delusional, psychotic to the point where they really could not, did not seem to know right from wrong, they didn't think that they had really done anything that warranted either being arrested or shooting themselves or anything. here, he obviously did. again, as i said, there's no hard and fast rules here. but this makes it less likely to be a delusional psychosis sort of thing and maybe more depression, you know, bipolar, that type of thing. but those underlying things that became suddenly worse, because of a recent traumatic experience. again, this is how the medical investigators are going to be thinking about things, at least starting to narrow in. >> i guess the bottom line question, sanjay, how do you piece together his mind-set, now that he's dead, how do you go back and try to figure out what
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was going through that mind? >> it's hard, but you talk to a lot of, you know, people certainly that gnaw him, try and figure out what some of his activities were over time. and also, there's something to be learned to some extent, wolf, from previous tragedies like this. obviously, every tragedy is different, but, you know, if you talk to people who study these sorts of things and who the fbi even relays on for some of their investigation, they typically break these categories down, you know, the type of person down into either a person who had psychosis, someone who was sympathetic, or someone who was traumatized. not everybody is going to fit neatly into one of those categories. but once you sort of get an idea of patterns of behavior, you look to see if certain patterns were met here as well. it's not as easy or as clean cut as that, but that's, again, a little bit of an insight in how the medical investigators will approach this. >> sanjay, thanks very much. always good to get your perspective on these issues. dr. sanjay gupta reporting. still ahead, a new veto
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threat in the struggle to avoid the fiscal cliff. also, we'll tell you why actor/director ben affleck was on capitol hill today. [ male announcer ] citi turns 200 this year. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement.
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with only 13 days to go before painful tax increases and spending cuts take effect, president obama and the house speaker john boehner still seem to be talking past one another. kate's got that story. some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. that clock is ticking. >> is it a step backward? is it a sidestep? are they at a standstill? they're definitely not moving forward at this point for sure. during his question and answer session, today president obama said he and republicans aren't that far apart on plans to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. and republicans should quote, in
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his words, just take the deal. >> when you think about what we've gone through over the last couple of months, a devastating hurricane, and now one of the worst tragedies in our memory, the country deserves folks to be willing to compromise on behalf of the greater good and not tangle themselves up in a whole bunch of ideological positions that don't make much sense. >> but on capitol hill, house speaker john boehner says the president's offer isn't balanced, so republicans will go ahead with their own plan to extend tax cuts for everyone but millionaires. >> tomorrow, the house will pass legislation to make permanent tax relief for nearly every american, 99.81% of the american people. and then the president will have a decision to make. he can call on senate democrats
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to pass that bill or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in american history. >> sources tell cnn house speaker john boehner may not have the votes to pass his tax plan. we will see and check in on that tomorrow when that vote is expected. and the white house is threatening a presidential veto. also, a little star power on capitol hill today. actor ben affleck, founder of the eastern congo initiative, testified before the house armed services committee. according to the "l.a. times," he asked lawmakers, for them to use u.s. leverage to press the u.n. and other organizations, to stop the violence, poverty, and disease that have killed 5 million people in congo since 1998. and here's something worth checking out online. something to play with. a mountain climber used computer technology and 477 telephoto images to create a panorama of mt. everest and the himalayas.
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you can zoom in, check out, and check out the amazing detail by going to glacierworks.org. i warn you, it's really fun and you can waste a lot of time at work if you start playing with that. it's beautiful, though. you been there? >> not mt. everest? >> the website is beautiful to look at the pictures. >> you've been to the website? >> maybe some day, mt. everest. so what will be the fallout from that scathing debut of the deadly september 11th attack in benghazi, libya. we'll speak to the chairman of the house intelligence committee, talk about the scaling conclusions of the report and a whole lot more. mike rogers, standing by. [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day 50+. can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh...
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talk to your doctor before taking xarelto® if you currently have abnormal bleeding. xarelto® can cause bleeding, which can be serious, and rarely may lead to death. you are likely to bruise more easily on xarelto®, and it may take longer for bleeding to stop. tell your doctors you are taking xarelto® before any planned medical or dental procedures. before starting xarelto®, tell your doctor about any conditions, such as kidney, liver or bleeding problems. ready to change your routine? ask your doctor about once-a-day xarelto®. for more information including cost support options, call 1-888-xarelto or visit goxarelto.com. happening now, shocking allegations of sex crimes at u.s. military academies. the problem is growing. plus, a scathing new report on the benghazi, libya attack. so what happens now? i'll ask the chairman of the house intelligence committee, mike rogers.
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and we're standing by for a tribute to the victims of the connecticut school massacre and their grieving community. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." the man expected to be nominated as the next secretary of state is responding to the critical new report on the benghazi attacks. here's senator john kerry. >> but i think the department has taken a huge step forward to address the lessons learned from benghazi, which are important to everybody. you know, there's 70,000 employees over there, there are 275 different posts. people are at risk. it's a dangerous world we're in. and i think that this report is going to significantly advance the security interests of those personnel and of our country. >> the independent review of the attack that killed the u.s. ambassador to libya found systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at
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senior levels, within two bureaus of the state department. but the review also noted that intelligence provided no immediate, specific tactical warning of the september 11th attacks. >> we're joined now by the chairman of the house intelligence committee, congressman mike rogers of michigan. chairman, thanks very much for coming in. so you've gone through this report. the classify, the declassified version, what's your reaction. >> well, a couple of concern. one of the concerns i have is, first of all, it certainly verified all that we had found, and we had talked about for weeks, of really what is gross negligence on behalf of the security directorates. and clearly to this report, there are other departments that were involved, i think, in that intelligence. that's clear to me in the report. >> because you told us the other day, gross negligence. those were the words you used. >> well, the one thing that concerned me is that the report said that we found all of those
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problems, but we find no one to have disciplinary action toward. that's concerning to me. that protects the culture. they blamed it on their bureaucracy. so if everybody is responsible, nobody is responsible. that's a huge problem. this was a catastrophic failure. >> because the report does say, security posture at that diplomatic mission, security posture that was inadequate for benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place. all right, so three officials have resigned. no one is being charged with anything, dereliction of duty or anything along those lines. is that enough? >> candidly, i don't think so. this was either a culture of failure here or it was worse than that, you had people who were grossly negligent in the performance of their duties that led to the deaths of four americans. my argument is, if you don't change that and change that soon, we are going to have more problems. and i'll give you a great example. in the report, one of the recommendations is, if you don't
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have specific threat information, you should consider the totality of the threat information. that is about as basic as you get. that happens every day, all across the world, from the secret service taking the president to a site in the united states, it should happen at a diplomatic security site in the embassy. when you take all of the threat information and figure out what your security posture should be. if they had to make that recommendation in this report, think about how bad it must have been. all this information, people making affirmative decisions, not to beef up the security, not to take into consideration all of the threat information, including the items they listed in the unclassified report, that were serious enough to ramp up the security. that's really concerning. and if you don't find anyone to blame, you don't find anyone to hold accountable with the accountability board, that tells me you're going to have more of that culture happening, and we put at risk, i think, our folks overseas. >> it raises so many questions. and there is quite a bit of an outrage factor here when you think about it. how did it get so bad. look at another example of, it
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doesn't even compare to this. the gsa, they found lots of wasteful spending for big galas in las vegas and employees, people were fired for that. but four people are dead. of course, the terror -- no one was asking for the terrorist attack to happen on september 11th, four people are dead, what i isn't someone getting fired for this? >> and i think that's the question that we have to get answered. the fact this report was so tepid in saying, we find all of these really harsh mistakes and laid them out in the report, but we don't find anyone to hold accountable. that's wrong, and that will only serve to protect the bureaucracy in the performance of their duties. they need to shake that up. if you have a security debate that doesn't take into consideration threat information, you probably should get a new security department. >> if you read carefully the unclassified version of the report, as i did, they do seem to say the ambassador, chris stevens, he was partially responsible for this disaster.
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i'll read you a few lines. the board found that ambassador stevens made the decision to travel to benghazi, independent of washington, per standard practice. the ambassador did not see a direct threat of an attack of this nature and scale on the u.s. mission in the overall negative trendline of security incidents from spring to summer 2012. his status as the leading u.s. government advocate on libya policy and his expertise on benghazi in particular caused washington to give unusual deference to his judgments. so he's passed away. he was killed. three of his associates were killed. but they seem to be suggesting he bears some of that responsibility. >> well, clearly, he bears some responsibility. but also, they say in the report that the benghazi folks were begging for help along the way. they explained a deteriorating security posture. there was more intensity in the events. more bad guys in the neighborhood than ever before. and they were asking repeatedly, and in washington, they were
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turned down for those requests. that's an important difference. so are there more than one person at fault? i'm sure there are. but you can't have a security wing of the state department that does not recognize that all of these threats need to be taken into consideration. he went with the security posture that they gave him, which i argue, was woefully inadequate. >> is there not a way to find out where the paperwork got stuck, in terms of these requests keep going in, these requests keep coming in. isn't that a question you want an answer to? >> absolutely. and the fact that the i don't think the accountability review board that did the report can find that they can't find anyone to hold accountable for the death of these four americans when there are some serious, gross negligent mistakes made in the security posture. >> here's what i want to know, and i think our viewers want to know. there will be bureaucratic responsibility for all of this, the guy who is actually, the terrorists, the al qaeda-related terrorists who killed ambassador stevens and the three others,
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where are they? who are they? is there a hunt -- is there any progress being made to bring these individuals, these terrorists to justice. >> great question. i had the same question. brought those folks responsible for the intelligence gathering investigation of that particular front. and as i said in a statement today, i aim not happy with where we're at. we're not in the right posture. i don't think we have the right configuration, and we are not in a position right now to bring those to justice. >> do they have any names of individuals? >> it's starting to come together, but it is , a, very slow, and we are getting reports from people who are in that business who tell us that it is going far too slow and can't figure out why it's so slow. that's my frustration. >> are the libyans being helpful or hurtful? >> they're not being completely helpful, and that's certainly an impediment to the speed of this. but we have other means of collection. and that's why we're not exactly postured in my mind in the right way with the right resources to get to a swift action on
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catching these people and bring them to justice. if you recall the 9/11 justice report on the "uss cole," one of the reasons they blamed al qaeda's emboldenness to do the 9/11 attack, is because they thought that nothing happened after the "uss cole." it took too long to try to bring someone to justice. they felt that that empowered them. well, you'll have that same attitude, as a matter of fact, we know it is. one of the folks that they believe, was involved, a guy named ka atalla, who was in the public square, drinking strawberry frappe and thumbing his nose at the united states. that attitude will bring violence and trouble to the united states if we don't bring those responsible to justice soon. and we're not there yet. >> but do you think -- and we've got to go -- that there's a mind-set if they find out who did it, that the navy s.e.a.l.s will go out there and do what they did to bin laden? >> i don't want to say what capability we will use. we have certain capabilities that the united states has that i think would serve well to bring those to justice that killed -- >> you say "bring those to
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justice," kill them? >> well, i think there are options on the table. i think they need to be brought to some sort of justice and that needs to be swift and certain to remind those folks that we will not tolerate that kind of violence towards any u.s. official, anywhere in the world. >> mr. chairman, thanks for coming in. a new report is out on sexual assault within the united states military. we're hearing some very disturbing allegations about what's going on at the united states navy academy. why do toys for tots and hasbro trust duracell to power their donated toys?
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we're getting a disturbing new glimpse at sex crimes within u.s., the u.s. military, targeting women in uniform. >> if you can even believe it. a new report shows the problem
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is growing, especially at military academies. our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, has heard some of the shocking stories. barbara, tell our viewers what you've learned. >> well, kate, i've had an advanced look at some parts of this study. defense secretary leon panetta has made it a priority to stop sexual assault in the military, at the service academies. that is far from happening. carlie marquette dreamed of going to the u.s. military academy at west point. once there, the dream became a nightmare. >> i remember him turning off the lights and me asking, what are you doing? and then he proceeded to rape me. >> reporter: many military women will tell you, they believe there's a greater chance they'll be raped by a fellow service member than killed in combat. and the risk of sexual assault is now growing, right from the time young people enter elite service academies. cnn has obtained advanced
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details of a new military survey at academies, showing the problem is getting worse. >> so the problem, as i see it is, no heads have rolled. all of the generals have come before congress and said the same thing over again. there's zero tolerance. but nothing ever changes. >> reporter: in april, defense secretary leon panetta vowed things would change. >> sexual assault has no place in the military. it is a violation of everything that the u.s. military stands for. >> reporter: some of the most disturbing new information comes from the u.s. naval academy. cnn has learned the survey found 225 midshipmen, mainly females, reported they were victims of unwanted sexual contact. everything from touching to forcible rape in the most recent academic year. but only 12 actually filed formal reports. that's down nearly 50% from last year. the navy's big worry, women are
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still not confident their reports will be taken seriously. >> the chain of command is part of the problem. you are required to report the incident to your chain of command. oftentimes, the assailant is your commander. >> reporter: at west point and the air force academy, the number of sexual assault incidents reported rose as well. while disturbing, the survey did find at these schools, women appeared to be more comfortable, going ahead and reporting harassment and assault, though there were many cases of unreported incidents. now, the military is cracking down on senior officers. an army general is scheduled to go to trial in the coming weeks on a number of charges of sexual misconduct. but at the military academies, those commanders are under increasing pressure to keep these young students safe. kate, wolf? >> those numbers are absolutely astounding. only 12 formal reports, barbara. great reporting.
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we'll definitely be following up on this. barbara starr at the pentagon for us this evening. for many, it can be the invisible toll of a trauma. two survivors of another shooting talk about the emotional damage that's left behind. we have their advice to parents. [ male announcer ] with free package pickup from the u.s. postal service the holidays are easy. visit usps.com. pay, print, and have it picked up for free before december 20h for delivery in time for the holidays. you can even give us special instructions on where to find it. free package pickup. from the u.s. postal service. because it's nice to have an extra pair of hands around for the holidays. but they haven't experienced extra strength bayer advanced aspirin. in fact, in a recent survey, 95% of people who tried it agreed that it relieved their headache fast. visit fastreliefchallenge.com today for a special trial offer. with olay, here's how.
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we're just minutes away there a memorial that's about to begin at western connecticut state university. a memorial called a tribute to newtown. our national correspondent, gary tuchman, is on the scene for us. gary, set the scene. what's about to happen? >> reporter: well, wolf, around the world, this has been such a painful situation, but here in connecticut, it's a local story. so it's much more acute. and there is strength in numbers. so what's happening here, a
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tribute to newtown, connecticut. what it is, is time for people to get together, to listen to religious leaders, to listen to students. students will play. and people will mourn together and they'll celebrate the lives of those who were lost together. they're giving out things to everyone who walks in. to all the children, they're getting mickey mouse dolls that come from the red cross, everyone is getting a candle like this and everyone is getting a rose. i'll tell you, wolf, this has just been -- you and i were together in oklahoma city, 18 years ago. 19 children were killed in the bombing of the oklahoma city federal building. the pain just never goes away. people often talk about closure and things like families that lost loved ones, but these kinds of things help. a short time ago, earlier this week, i talked with the husband and daughters of dawn ho hochsprung, the principal of the school where the shooting happened and this is really unbelievable.
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we went to her wake today to pay respects. there were about five or 600 people in line to get to the funeral home. probably a four or five hour wait. it was very cold. that shows you the love the people have in the community for the people who pass ed way and hopefully, this ceremony will help. >> thanks very much. i know it's a moving experience for so many people. >> for those who survived the shootings, there may not have been physical injury, but there is emotional trauma that will linger. two young men know exactly what's ahead. elizabeth cohen has their story. >> saw some of the bullets going past the hall. >> we heard yelling, put your hands up. don't shoot. we heard lots of scary stuff. >> these innocent eyes have witnessed unspeakable horrors. >> everybody was like crying. >> images that could haunt them forever. >> she walked past the body. she saw the principal, the blood. >> physically, they escaped, but
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how will these young survivors do mentally? >> very serious situation at the community center. >> ben and josh know what wha it's like to face the nightmare. 13 years ago, the boys were at summer camp in los angeles when a gunman stormed this and shot them. ben was 5. what do you remember happening around you? >> screaming. tons of screaming. >> josh was 6. >> he came in and he shot all the way around and the next thing i remember, i was just getting up and running as fast as i could that way. >> the boys survived, but were never the same emotionally. >> i didn't live a normal childhood. in no means did i have a normal childhood. >> the shooter, beaufort furrow, had robbed them of their security. >> when you were dropped off at school, you wondered, am i safe? for how long? >> probably through middle school. >> if we heard helicopters, sirens, loud noises, anything
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would startle me. i locked every door and window. >> why? >> that was the closest thing i could feel to safe. >> now 19, these two young men are among the few people who have experienced what the connecticut children have experienced. >> the pictures of the kids being taken out, i could accidentally mistake the pictures of when i got shot. >> they worry for the newtown children. >> i think they are going to feel afraid of the dark, of loud noises. >> what advice would you give to these participants in connecticut? >> listen to your kids, you know. they're a lot smarter than we take them for and so, you really have to just listen to them and be understanding to them and know that there will be times when they really do want to talk about it and there will be times when they don't and if they don't want to talk about it, don't push them. >> elizabeth cohen, cnn, los angeles. >> let's check in with erin
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burnett to see what's coming up at the top of the hour. what are you working on? >> we're going to continue to focus on some of the mental health aspects here as we still try to figure out what sort of mental ailment adam lanza may have had. that hasn't been diagnosed, but autism, a few of the key things according to the national institute of health that you may suffer from include a lack of em pa think and acting up with tantrums and showing aggression to others and yourself. we're going to talk to a man who has made it his life's cause to try to combat autism in this country. bob wright is going to answer some of these tough questions about whether autism can cause or be a part of violent behavior. we're also going to be talking to the funeral director who has had to bury 11 in newtown this week. only one funeral director in that small town. back to you. >> see you in a few minutes, erin. thanks very much.
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for your great reporting this week as well. >> also, the memorial for the newtown shooting victims at western connecticut state university. it's about to begin. you'll see it live. many hot dogs are within you. try pepto-bismol to-go, it's the power of pepto, but it fits in your pocket. now tell the world daniel... of pepto-bismol to-go. your soups are so awesomely delicious my husband and i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head? can curlers! tomato basil, potato with bacon... we've got a lot of empty cans. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement.
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and the next great idea could be yours. ♪ and the next great idea could be yours. oh, let me guess --ou see this? more washington gridlock. no, it's worse -- look, our taxes are about to go up. not the taxes on our dividends though, right? that's a big part of our retirement. oh, no, it's dividends, too. the rate on our dividends would more than double. but we depend on our dividends to help pay our bills. we worked hard to save. well, the president and congress have got to work together to stop this dividend tax hike. before it's too late. (announcer) when subaru owners look in the mirror, they see more than themselves. so we celebrate our year-end with the "share the love" event. get a great deal on a new subaru and 250 dollars goes to your choice of five charities. by the end of this, our fifth year, our total can reach almost 25 million dollars.
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liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? jack pinto was an avid football fan. his idol, victor cruz. he paid an emotional visit to his family in newtown. >> when you visit a family that's facing so much turmoil in their lives, you meet their family and see what kind of things they're going through, it helps you look at life through a different lens. it really changes your view of
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the way you see. yeah, most definitely. every since it happened, i've been you know, just spending more time with her, just cherishing the little moments, the little times you get with her because it's you know, you never know when that can be taken from you. >> cruz gave jack's older brother the shoes he wore during last week's game. one says jack pinto, my hero. the other, rest in peace, jack. >> and more gut wrenching farewells in newtown, connecticut. the three first graders and teacher that were buried today. she has been described as precious with her cherub face and a toothy grin. she loved to draw and dance. daniel barden played the drums in a family band. he loved the beach and lost his two front teeth in his fearless

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The Situation Room
CNN December 19, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PST

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 29, U.s. 24, Newtown 21, Nancy Lanza 17, Washington 13, Connecticut 10, Adam Lanza 10, Cnn 7, United States 7, Virginia 7, Peter Lanza 7, Clinton 6, John Boehner 6, Pentagon 6, Kate 6, Alabama 6, Joe Biden 5, Leon Panetta 5, Mike Rogers 5, America 5
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